Saturday

Review: Delicious Without Gluten





I was recently contacted by the folks at Delicious Without Gluten and asked if I would like to review some of their products. They were kind enough to send me a lovely care pack with a variety of their baked goods.

Some quick facts about Delicious Without Gluten

  • Everything is made without gluten, dairy, peanuts and tree nuts
  • They are certified by the Canadian Celiac Association, thus bearing the logo
  • Products are Kosher
  • They have expanded into the Foodservice industry, offering a variety of goods to cafeterias, hospitals, convention centers, and restaurants
  • A Canadian company, based out of Quebec
  • They offer custom orders 
  • You can find their products throughout Ontario and Quebec
  • Everything freezes and defrosts beautifully

So What Did I think?

Full disclosure: I had heard a lot about Delicious Without Gluten and was beyond excited to sample away. One of the first things that I noticed was how fresh everything smelled and tasted. You can really tell that that a lot of thought has been put into creating this product line. 

I'm happy to report that the bread items can be enjoyed without the use of a toaster. That's right, they were light, airy and didn't fall apart. Awards should be given out for gluten-free bread that can be eaten sans toaster. But, if you do enjoy your bread products toasted, they fair well in the toaster as well. Both the bread and paninis make fantastic sandwiches. 

Side note: The Challah Rolls make for some excellent french toast.


 Banana Chocolate Chip Cake


Gluten-Free chocolate chip banana bread
I have a love-hate relationship with banana bread so I went into this unsure of my expectations. What did I think? Well, the Banana Chocolate Chip Cake was pretty wonderful! It had just the right amount of chocolate chips to provide a sweet surprise, but not take away from all that yummy banana. I enjoyed it both with and without a light spread of margarine. Both options are extremely enjoyable.


Chocolate Chip Muffins

 


Look at all of those chocolate chips! Seriously, these muffins were AMAZING. They're fluffy, full of chocolate chips and not at all dry. It's wonderful to be able to eat a gluten-free muffin that doesn't disintegrate into a crumbly mess. These are top of the line in my opinion. 


I usually try to find both positives and things which can be improved upon when I do a review, but I honestly loved everything I sampled. The only downside I can think of is that Delicious Without Gluten is not widely available on store shelves across the country. To that I say, if you enjoy their products, contact your local grocery stores and ask them to carry DWG products. 

You can find out where to buy Delicious Without Gluten products by searching their store locator.


Keep up with Delicious Without Gluten on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram



Thursday

Review: Red Apple Lipstick

I received free product for review purposes. Opinions are entirely my own.


As someone who eats gluten-free due to Celiac disease, it's important that my cosmetics are free from gluten as well. Let's be honest, if it's on your face then it's easily ingested. It can be overwhelming to read cosmetic labels all the while trying to decipher hidden gluten sources. Often the ingredients are listed in the worlds smallest fonts, making reading those scientific terms all the more difficult.

Are there any Gluten-Free Makeup Brands?

Enter Red Apple Lipstick. They take serious pride in using only the finest, highest quality ingredients to create their products. On top of being certified Gluten-Free, Red Apple ingredients are Vegan, Soy Free, Paraben-Free, Lead-Free and Vitamin E Enriched. All products are created in small batches to ensure freshness.



Gluten Free Makeup
Exfoliate Stick and Magic Momint Lipgloss

I tried out a lipgloss and an exfoliate stick.

This was my first experience with an Exfoliate Stick so I wasn't really sure what to expect. It comes in an elegant lipstick tube and has coarse-grained bits all throughout the product. The coarse grainy bits are what scrub the dry patches from your lips. Using it is quite simple and not messy at all. Just apply like you would lipstick and then wipe off with a small cloth or some water. The creamy texture is really enjoyable and I adore the cooling mint flavor - so refreshing! As someone who regularly endures chapped lips, the Exfoliate Stick has earned a fan in me! 


Cost: $17.00

Cosmetics
Next up, I tried the Mint 2 Be lipgloss - Magic Momint

I tend not to wear lipgloss often as I find it to generally be a thick goopy mess that ends up drying out my lips. So no fun there. On a happy note, Red Apple Lipstick has exceeded my expectations with their lipgloss formulation. Magic Momint feels airy and light when applied. It has a very satiny feel and a luscious spearmint aroma that is a pure winner. The pigment is so darn gorgeous! It goes on slightly sheer and allows for easy to control intensity by applying a lot or just a little. A big highlight is that the colour lasts for a long time and feels silky and conditioning on the lips.

Cost: $18.50


Gluten Free Lipgloss


For more information on Red Apple Lipstick, check out the following social media links:






Wednesday

Celiac Resources: What To Look For & Red Flags To Run From

When I think of the sea of information surrounding Celiac disease, I'm reminded of how I learned the ins and outs of managing it. Lucky for me, I was diagnosed long before gluten-free had become romanticised by celebrities and diet junkies. It made things easier I think because the information circulating about gluten-free was pure and foreign to most people. Gluten-free was just that; no gray area and no jokes.

With all of the information out there today, it can be difficult to weed out fact from fiction. The internet is a continuously growing source of unmoderated information and strong opinion. While different points of view can be a good thing, they aren't when it comes to managing Celiac. Scientific facts from medical professionals trump personal opinions on the internet ( looking at you Facebook Groups, Twitter, and Instagram ) one hundred percent! 


So Who Do We Trust?!

Celiac Resources

What to look for


Bloggers who actively campaign for Celiac awareness without policing the nutritional choices of others. Celiac aside, we all have different dietary needs, requirements, and lifestyles. It's important to find bloggers you can relate to. For example, if you are gluten-free AND dairy free, you would naturally gravitate toward someone who shares that lifestyle.


Look for support groups which are low on animosity and focus on the positives. While we all need to vent once in a while, it can be emotionally draining to be constantly surrounded by negativity. It's not hard to find a silver lining when everyone you connect with is searching for it too. Support networks big or small, are important to successfully manage Celiac.


Advocacy groups which are funded by member and or Government donations. When there is no sponsorship, there is zero potential for conflict of interest. They are also more likely to involve members in every aspect of the organization, making it 100% accountable. Advocacy is a vital lifeline to everyone with Celiac. This is why we need to make sure we're supporting groups which are serious about making a difference.


Facts based on valid scientific researchCeliac is not governed by personal opinion. Period. To avoid clickbait and plain old wrong information, ask yourself:
Is this a trustworthy information source?
Can the facts be verified?
Is there an ulterior motive?
What makes this source reliable?
Where did the information originate?
Is it up to date?

We live in an era where information travels at lightspeed and just because it's out there, doesn't mean it's accurate.


Red flags


Anyone who promotes Cheerios as a suitable option for those with Celiac. 
See more on why that is a no-no here. This is a hot topic still and I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around why. The main problem here is cross-contamination and lack of transparency about the gluten-removal process from General Mills.

Stay far away from anyone promoting gluten-removed beer as a Celiac safe.
It's not. Heres why: current technology is not reliable as it can't accurately measure the amount gluten in beer. It doesn't matter if it has been treated with enzymes or your Aunt Betty said she drinks it and is fine. Bartenders are not medical professionals and should not be relied upon for accurate information on the gluten-freeness of a drink. Beer made with malt a.k.a gluten-removed beer is not safe for any Celiac, nor is Corona for that matter.

Watch out for anyone who neglects to disclose sponsored material. 
This has been an ongoing problem on the interwebs for some time. It's sketchy, in poor taste and lacks authenticity.

Stay away from people who want to sell you essential oils, tonics and cleanses.
None of this will "heal" you and most of them tend to be MLM situations. Don't get caught up in it and you won't be sorry.


Avoid anyone who tells you that they know a "cure". 
Although therapies are actively being trialed and researched, there is nothing to date which will allow you to safely consume gluten. There is zero proof that anything currently on store shelves will help with cross contamination or accidental glutening. ZERO. Side note - those pills in health stores that "aid in the digestion of gluten" are not regulated by the FDA and not even meant for people with Celiac.


Advocacy groups and Expos that are sponsored by companies that are not Celiac safe. This is a major conflict of interest. How can we be sure that money hasn't bought a favorable opinion here? Safety first!

Be wary of anyone who relies strictly on the Nima Sensor. 
The Canadian Celiac Association recently released a statement cautioning anyone with Celiac or gluten sensitivity against using the device. While Nima could potentially be a helpful tool, it's not flawless and the opportunity for error is simply too risky.



Research and Support You Can Count On




The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University



Gluten-Free Certification 




Tuesday

Product Review: GoGo Quinoa Supergrains Pasta


One of my go-to meal solutions is pasta. It's hearty, healthy and versatile. Another plus is how quick and easy it is to make. When GoGo Quinoa asked me if I'd like to give their new Super Grains Fusilli Pasta a try, I had to say yes! Let's talk about what has this pasta standing apart from the crowd - the ingredients.


Ingredients:

Organic sorghum flour, organic white quinoa flour, organic amaranth flour, organic chia flour.

Nutritional Values:

The pasta is a good source of fibre and Iron with 25%  of iron and 24% of fibre per portion (1 cup). 



What IS Sorghum Flour?

GoGo Quinoa’s sorghum is grown in Bolivia. This small grain is an edible hull which is rich in antioxidants. Sorghum is very nutritious, packed with carbohydrates, fibre, iron, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. Eating it can help maintain a healthy balanced diet.


What Did I think?!

I had never tried Quinoa pasta before so I  was quite curious to see what it was like. Although I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, I went into the experience with an open mind. Taste and texture is a big deal - no one likes mushy pasta or an aftertaste. The Super Grains Fusilli Pasta came through, big time! It holds up really well and does not fall apart after cooking. Plus, no aftertaste! I always make enough to ensure there are leftovers and reheating them has been a success. That's a big plus in my book. The pasta has a nice hearty bite to it and there is zero aftertaste with it.


GoGo Quinoa Pasta




With school back in session and Fall weather upon us, I decided to cook up a little comfort dish with the GoGo Quinoa Super Grains Fusilli. 


Butternut Squash Autumn Supergrains Pasta

You will need:

GoGo Quinoa Supergrains Fusilli Pasta


1 Butternut Squash
5 strips of Bacon 
3 stocks of Celery 
a handful of Chives

1/4 Cup Milk
Handful Grated Parmesan
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pasta Cooking Instructions: Bring 3-4 litres of water to a boil. Add salt if desired. When the water is boiling well, add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes for an Al Dente texture while stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse promptly with cold water. Serve immediately with your favourite sauce and condiments. 

While the pasta is boiling: puree a butternut squash and add it to a saucepan.
Then add 1/4 cup of milk, 3 Tablespoons Butter, 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, 2 Tablespoons Paprika,1 Teaspoon Nutmeg and Salt & Pepper to taste. After giving everything a good stir,  add some diced celery (3 stocks) and some finely chopped bacon (5 strips). Give everything another stir and add in the pasta.Then add a handful of grated parmesan cheese and gently incorporate the pasta into the sauce. Once plated, top with some fresh chives.




GoGo Quinoa Pasta



You can find GoGo Quinoa Supergrains Pasta in Costco stores across Canada. 






Thursday

D-LUXE Burger: Review




Disney Springs

Owned and operated by Disney, you can find D-LUXE Burger in Disney Springs. Though you may want to grab a map to help locate it. The complex is large and can easily require a full day to tour. Side tip - Go early in the morning and avoid the evenings if your not one for crowds.

Formerly known as Downtown Disney, the entertainment destination has transformed into a not to be missed dining and shopping mecca. 


Disney Springs
Order Area




D-LUXE Burger is a Quick Service restaurant and currently participates in the Disney Dining Plan program. Keep in mind, that participating restaurants are updated and sometimes changed out yearly. The vibe inside the restaurant is pretty chill and laid back. It's actually bigger than it looks on the outside as well.


Gluten-Free Options 




Disney Springs



As we were on the dining plan, I was able to get the regular fries as a snack credit. If you are paying out of pocket, the regular fries will set you back about $4.99 and the large,  about $7.49.

The fries are gluten-free, hand cut and fried in a dedicated fryer. I would say they are similar in texture to the ones you would find at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. 


I could not get enough of them. Seriously, the fries alone are worth the trip to Disney Springs! Even though they were a "snack" portion, the size was enough to fill me up. 

The fries come with your choice of SIX complimentary dipping sauces...and they're all gluten-free! I tried all of them and WOW are they ever good!

  • chipotle mayo
  • curry ketchup
  • 3 mustard honey
  • garlic ranch
  • buffalo blue cheese
  • horseradish sauce

Although I haven't tried it, you can also order a gluten-free burger with either a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap. This is definitely on my list for next time though!



Disney Springs


Things can get a little messy so, you will no doubt appreciate the paper towel rolls located on each table. I also loved that no rush atmosphere. We really took our time, enjoyed the food and just soaked up the vibe.



Have you visited D-LUXE Burger? Share your thoughts below!



Wednesday

Le Marché Émilie: Review


While vacationing in Quebec, I found what I consider to be a hidden gem - Le Marché Émilie and it will pleasantly surprise you. The store itself is a beautiful old post office building which has been converted into a colorful and vibrant gluten-free cafe and grocery shop. It is located in Pointe-Claire and within walking distance of the breathtaking St. Lawerence river.


Gluten-Free Grocery Store
Le Marché Émilie

What's So Special?


The entire store is 100% gluten-free! That's right - grocery staples, desserts and hot food, ALL gluten-free. It's not often a Celiac finds a "safe" place to eat, let alone one that is completely dedicated to gluten-free. They serve freshly made pizza and have a pretty magical ice cream bar. On top of that, the store also sells both frozen and shelf stable gluten-free groceries.


Gluten-Free Shop
Eating area


Right away I was in awe of the shops colour palette. It gives off a really fun vibe. Although not large in size, the layout makes for a spacious and enjoyable atmosphere. Everything about Le Marché Émilie is absolutely darling. Including the people who work there. I was greeted the moment I walked in, with a friendly "Bonjour!" If you're not versed in French, don't worry - Pointe-Claire is a pretty bilingual area and the staff at Le Marché Émilie speak fluent English. Most of the signage is also in both English and French.


Pointe Claire Quebec
Groceries


We looked around the shop and discovered lots of product which is not available in Ontario. So much so that I will dedicate a future post to it. Since we visited Le Marché Émilie on our way back to Ontario, I decided to do a little souvenir grocery shopping in the freezer section. My husband was able to purchase a bag of ice at the convenience store across the road so I took a chance and bought about a hundred dollars worth of frozen food. I'm happy to say that all of the frozen food held up during our 6-hour drive home!


Just look at that pizza


Gluten-Free Pizza
Pizza


I ordered the personal size marinara pizza with 3 toppings. It cost me around eight dollars or so. The pizza base is focaccia, which was light, pillowy and filling. Portion size was generous in and in my opinion very worth it. Something else to make note of is that the pizza is dairy free on top of being gluten-free. Normally I can spot dairy free cheese a mile-a-way, but not the case here. The cheese was soft and velvety.


We need to talk about the Sundaes


Gluten-Free Ice Cream Shop
Ice Cream Menu



There are several varieties to choose from and they range from basic to extreme. I ordered the "Kid In A Candy Shop" sundae. It's vanilla ice cream which is coated in milk chocolate, m&m's, sprinkles, strawberry sauce and topped off with cotton candy. All for $5.95 plus tax. There is so much going on in this dessert and it all works perfectly together! I had no idea ice cream and cotton candy could make such an enticing combination. Much like the pizza, serving size is ample and you won't be disappointed.


Gluten-Free Sundae
Kid In A Candy Shop Sundae


Final Thoughts



I absolutely adored Le Marché Émilie and plan to stop by during future Quebec trips. It's the type of place I could see myself visiting on the regular had I lived closer. Cost wise, I was happy. They charge a fair price and don't gouge the way some places do.

If you will be visiting Quebec, please stop by and give them some well-deserved love! The Celiac community needs more dedicated gluten-free shops like Le Marché Émilie.

You can follow them on social media below:






Monday

Rainy Day Penne with Italpasta Gluten-Free

It's no secret that I adore pasta. The versatility and ease of prep call my name on the regular. When the folks at Italpasta approached me to develop a recipe, I was on board in a heartbeat!


Some quick facts about Italpasta 

  • They're the largest 100% Canadian owned pasta manufacturer in Canada
  • The pasta is available in 4 cuts – spaghetti, penne rigate, fusilli and elbows with an oven-ready gluten free lasagne is on its way 
  • They've re-launched their gluten-free line with an updated ingredient base


The Recipe


It's been raining a lot lately, with little to no pause for sunshine. So what better time to make a dish that both feeds and brightens up the soul?! This dish is so darn easy to make. I used ingredients that I regularly have on hand and made the creamiest penne. My house of picky eaters even asked for seconds!


Rainy Day Penne (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

1 Package of Italpasta Gluten-Free Penne
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Garlic Paste
3 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Whipping Cream
1 Cup Finely Diced Green Onion
1 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 (142g) Cans, Seasoned Shredded Turkey
3 Cups Broccoli Florets
1/3 Cup Reserved Pasta Water
Salt And Pepper 


Pasta

                                    


Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil
  2. Boil pasta per package instructions (about 8-10mins)
  3. While pasta boils, Heat oil in non-stick pan over medium/high heat
  4. Add garlic paste to pan and stir. Remove from heat when lightly browned
  5. Drain turkey flakes, add to the pan of garlic and stir 
  6. In a separate bowl, Whisk together eggs, cream, and parmesan 
  7. Add broccoli florets to boiling pot of pasta with 4 minutes to go
  8. Strain cooked pasta/broccoli and set aside pasta water
  9. Gently add pasta to pan and set to low heat
  10. Cover  pasta with egg mixture and reserved pasta water
  11. Stir well to ensure egg mixture coats pasta and does not scramble
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste preference
  13. Remove from heat and top each bowl with green onion



WHAT YOU WILL LOVE ABOUT ITALPASTA

The pasta holds up very well, meaning it doesn't get mushy or fall apart. I really put the penne through the ringer with all of that stirring and it held up beautifully. 

It only takes minutes to cook, which is great because there never seems to be enough time in the day. By following the package directions, you are in for the most amazing al dente pasta ever. The noodles have a nice snap when bitten into, without being tough. I really could go on and on about how lovely Italpasta gluten-free pasta is! 


What is your favourite dish to prepare for #forGFpastalovers with Italpasta gluten-free pasta? 



*This is a sponsored post- Italpasta products and a nominal fee were provided in exchange for recipe development and posting

Saturday

What every Celiac Wants You To Know

Celiac is a permanent lifestyle change. A change that is difficult, expensive and involves more than just avoiding bread. For someone with Celiac, indulging in gluten containing food is never okay. Ever. Below, I touch on things every Celiac wants their friends, family and co-workers to know.

So What Exactly Is Celiac?

Celiac isn't an allergy, intolerance or preference. It's an autoimmune digestive disorder which causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Contrary to most people's understanding, this is not a new disease. In fact, Celiac was first discovered by the Greek physician, Aretaeus of Cappadocia who lived in the first century A.D. He wrote about "The Coeliac Affection" and named it koliakos which is derived from the Greek word koelia, meaning abdomen.

Celiac is a serious autoimmune condition where the body ultimately views gluten as the enemy. Thus creating a hostile reaction to it. Following a strict gluten-free diet isn't glamorous and it requires extra work to ensure that it's also healthy.

Common Overlooked Dangers

Taking precautions to prevent cross contamination (both home and away) is a necessary effort. Though it may seem exuberant, it's important to ensure some kitchen items are deemed Celiac only. Examples such include:

toaster
cutting board
colander
condiments


It's also important to be mindful of food courts, break rooms and other eating areas away from home. The tables may not always be sanitised before you sit down and can harbour crumbs from previous diners.

Reading food labels can be tricky. Take your time and learn the various terms for gluten and become versed in proper label reading. The Canadian Celiac Association provides a great resource for label reading.

Myths, Lies, And Misunderstandings

Celiac is a life long condition as currently there is NO CURE. That means adhering to a 100% gluten-free diet is essential. Contrary to what some companies may try to slyly sway you into believing, no pill or ritual out there will allow you to safely ingest gluten. Period. 

Though it seems to still be happening, starting a gluten-free diet before proper testing is a monster no-no. Why? Because if you are in fact Celiac, your body will begin to heal on a gluten-free diet which will result in a false negative test result.

Simply following a gluten-free diet blindly is never a good idea. Many of the foods are high in fat and sugar, as well as low in essential nutrients such as iron, fibre and vitamin B. Believe it or not, this can actually cause weight gain. It's a process to eat healthy on a gluten-free diet as we have to work harder to ensure that the healthy food makes its way into our routine. This involves a lot of planning and straying from the convenience of pre-packaged foods. Especially if away from home.


Don't Get Caught Up In Myths

  • Deep frying doesn't destroy gluten 
  • Ancient Grains like Spelt aren't safe- they're in the wheat family
  • Celiac is in not a result of GMO's
  • Crumbs are a big deal. Even a little bit is harmful to a Celiac
  • Lack of physical reaction is not an indication of safety. Even without a noticeable reaction, gluten consumption is harmful.
  • Celiacs don't need to avoid all grains. Unless you have another condition, wheat gluten is the only thing you need avoid.


The Complexity Of It All

Celiac has been associated with over 300 different symptoms. Crazy right?! Not everyone has the same telltale signs. Some people are what is known as "Silent Celiac", meaning they show no noticeable symptoms (also known as asymptomatic) of the disease. This is why proper testing is very important. Self-diagnosing and assuming you're Celiac can be a dangerous road to follow. By not taking the proper steps for diagnosis, you are potentially putting yourself at risk. You know all those symptoms linked to Celiac? They can be signs of other conditions as well. Thus making diagnosis tricky and solidifying the need for accuracy. What if you aren't actually Celiac, but have a health issue only masked by the gluten-free diet? You won't get the treatment you need and you will wonder why you're still sick or what's been "glutening" you. You're also less likely to adhere to the gluten-free lifestyle without having been correctly tested.


The Genetic Link

Celiac is genetically inherited, but not everyone with the gene will develop the disease. Providing genetic markers are present, there is a 1 in 10 risk of a first-degree (parent, child, sibling) relative developing Celiac disease.

Complications

Unlike wheat products, most gluten-free items are not fortified.This results in vitamin deficiency for many with Celiac. It's important to ensure you are getting sufficient iron, calcium, Vitamin D, B6, B12, zinc and folate.

Untreated, Celiac can lead to a whole slew of other autoimmune disorders, including MS, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, neurological conditions, pancreatic problems and gastrointestinal cancers.


Etiquette And Support

A positive support network is crucial to for everyone with Celiac. Whether it's an encouraging shoulder to lean on or an ear to rant to, simply being a bright presence makes our journey a little easier.

Though others may mean well by asking questions, there are some things that really should be avoided. Some questions and comments we field tend to be less than empathetic and kind of inconsiderate. 

Let's talk etiquette and what falls under the please don't even category

"That must suck"
"Don't be dramatic"
"I feel sorry for you"
"Just a little won't hurt"
"I'd die if I couldn't eat gluten"
"If you take xyz you can eat gluten again"
"My friend's Naturopath say xyz will cure Celiac"
"I'd never be able to give up my favourite foods"

It's also important to understand that we may not always feel comfortable eating away from home. Even if it's something a friend or a family member has gone to the effort of making gluten-free. Not everyone understands the detailed prep involved in ensuring gluten-free food stays gluten-free. For people who are not immersed in the Celiac lifestyle, it can be easy to overlook areas of cross contamination. We mean no offence when we politely decline. Trust us. We really want to be able to trust you and eat the food you have so graciously prepared. But, we have also all had that one experience where we've reacted to food made by others. So when we say "no thank you" please just let it be and don't pressure us or become irritated.


Love ,
your friendly neighbourhood Celiac



Sunday

Product Review: Barilla Gluten-Free Pasta

Many thanks to the wonderful folks at Barilla for sending me some gluten-free pasta to try in honour of Celiac Awareness month. How kind is that?!

If you are like me and prefer your pasta on the al dente side, you will be a fan of Barilla's gluten-free line. For those who enjoy their pasta with less bite, there are 2 sets of directions on the box - one for al dente and one for a more done texture. The difference in cooking time is literally one minute, but that can make a world of a difference in the kitchen and I appreciate the instruction!




GlutenFreePasta
Barilla Gluten-Free Pasta

So What's It Like?


I really wanted to get a feeling for what Barilla gluten-free pasta truly is, so I was hesitant to add a lot of extra ingredients or make anything with intense flavours. I made a dish with a light, vegetable-based sauce and some fresh crisp peas. Sometimes simple can be better. And in this case, it really is!

The texture is off the charts incredible. It's very close to "normal" gluten filled pasta in structure and mouth feel. I love the little snapping bite you get from following the directions for an al dente dish. As far as taste goes, I thought it was good as well. There is no overpowering hint of anything flavour wise, which some gluten-free pasta brands are notorious for. Barilla uses simple ingredients - a combination of corn and rice flour.

This pasta even holds up after *gasp* reheating leftovers in the microwave a day later! No falling apart or mushiness. Leftover pasta is always a great thing so this is HUGE!

Have you cooked anything up with Barilla gluten-free pasta lately? Share your favourite dish with me!



Tuesday

Gluten Free Garage 2017


Less than 2 weeks to go until this year's Gluten Free Garage


I went last year for the first time and quickly became a fan. The pop-up gluten-free event feels like a farmers market, hidden away in the city. 


What you can expect from this year's event


  • Discover local bakeries, restaurants, and retailers that cater to their gluten-free needs
  • Sample and purchase gluten-free food, beverages and related lifestyle products from a wide variety of vendors
  • Enjoy delicious gluten-free food prepared onsite by local chefs and caterers
  • Get information about celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and the gluten-free diet
  • Learn more about the gluten-free lifestyle from guest speakers
  • Grab a free tote bag for all their gluten-free goodies
  • Take home coupons for future purchases as well as samples of gluten-free products


Learn more about the history of Gluten Free Garage by reading my interview with founder, Ronnilyn Pustil.




GFG


Hope to see you at this year's event!


Sunday

Review: Pikanik


I was provided with free product for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Gluten-Free Pancake and Lava Cake Mixes



Meet Pikanik


If you haven't discovered Pikanik, let me introduce you.
 Pikanik is a gluten-free and allergen safe bakery located in South Surrey British Columbia. EVERYTHING is free of gluten, wheat, peanut, tree nut, dairy, soy. Some products are even egg free.


They sell everything from bread, muffins, and cupcakes to pasta, baking mixes, and Vegan caesar salad dressing. For a flat $10.00 rate (on orders $30.00+) Pikanik delivers's from West Vancouver to Abbotsford and some surrounding areas.





Single and Lava'n It Chocolate Lava Cake Desset Mix


Gluten-Free Chocolate Lava Cake


Price: 
$8.95
Makes 6 single servings

Chocolate lava cake is new to me. Well, making it is anyways. Being the avid Food Network viewer that I am, more than a few of these have come across my screen. Watching chefs talk about how fussy and intricate these heavenly cakes are to make was enough for me to leave it to the pros.

So imagine my surprise when a mix for chocolate lava cake shows up at my home. I'll admit that I was a wee bit scared at first. I'd be crazy not to be right? Once I read over the extra ingredients and effort required, I was confidently pleased. All you will need on hand is a little bit of oil, coffee (optional), water and sugar.

The recipe is set up so that you can make individual lava cakes or a big one. I opted to get some use out of my ramekins and make individual ones. Cooking time and temperatures vary from oven to oven so please keep this in mind as you may need to make some adjustments. I had to crank the temperature slightly and leave the lava cake in a little longer. Once you figure out your oven, it's easy peasy. And don't worry, a delicate hand is not required for success.

Taste Test

If you are a chocolate fan, this mix is for you! Lava cake #2 (#1 was taken out too early...whoopsie!) was a wonderland of ooey gooey delicious! As you can see from the above photo, some of it stuck to the ramekin, but hey, it looks super rustic and cute! You can taste a nice sweetness, but you're not left with that overindulgent feeling. Though the cake was slightly dense it was lovely and paired spectacularly with whipped cream and powdered sugar. Next time around, I'm going all out and making an ice cream sundae lava cake! The fun combinations are endless. Especially considering the minimal effort needed to make the lava cakes.



Flippin' Fantastic Flapjacks Pancake Mix


Pancakes

Price: $10.95
Makes 60 pancakes

Silver Dollars, Flapjacks and Hotcakes are just some of the that names pancakes go by. For most people, mornings would not be complete without them. I love to make big batches and freeze them for quick (and sometimes late night) snacks.


Like the lava cake mix, this one doesn't require a whole lot of extra ingredients. All you need on hand is oil, eggs, yoghurt, and milk. I replaced the yoghurt with apple sauce and used Almond Milk for our pancakes.


Taste Test

The pancakes turned out pretty great. They flip flawlessly with a spatula which is really important to avoid a muddled mess in the pan. The addition of applesauce added a gorgeous scent and flavour. The pancakes turned out fluffy but slightly thinner than I'm used to. This could be due to my applesauce swap. I really loved that they were not overly sweet and were quite delicious with maple syrup and just a bit of butter. I'm thinking these pancakes would be great for school/work lunches - just spread your favourite jam or nut butter on a pancake and roll it up. Or go wild with a filling of sliced banana and Nutella.


Some Final Notes


  • The packaging of both mixes is resealable. How brilliant and ah-mazing is that?! 


  • Pikanik has a customer appreciation program that earns you a credit with every purchase!

  • Their product selection can be viewed and ordered online here


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© Gluten Free Doll. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.